Name a European city that’s more eclectic, diverse, and elegant than Athens? I bet you can’t.
Although there are numerous beautiful places to visit in Greece, you won't want to skip out on the country's capital city, Athens.
Offering everything from ancient temples and monuments to luxury boutiques and hotels, you’ll never have a moment of boredom exploring this vibrant and history-packed city. The real challenge lies in using your time wisely while in this beautiful city.
As one of the world’s most ancient cities, Athens is not just known for its archeological wonders. It's a city filled with fascinating stories, spellbinding Greek and Roman ruins, and a vibrant nightlife.
With so many things you could be doing, planning a trip to Athens may be overwhelming. Let me help you find the best places and things to do in Athens, Greece. I'll share with you Athens’s best-kept secrets and top attractions so you don’t miss out on anything while visiting this European gem!
What Should I Not Miss in Athens? Best Attractions in the City
There are so many great things to do in Athens whatever time of year you visit. With so much to see and do, it may be hard for some travelers to decide what to do with their limited time.
Some of my favourite things to do include visiting the nearby ruins and historical sites, as well as stopping by a local restaurant to enjoy delicious Greek cuisine!
If you're having a hard time deciding what to prioritize while visiting Athens, here are 6 of the top Athens attractions you need to see.
6. The National Archaeological Museum
You won’t find any other museum with a better collection of ancient Greek art, pieces of jewelry, and pottery than the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. It’s also the largest archaeological museum in the entire country.
The museum is located in central Athens on Patission street, close to the Athens Polytechnic University. If you're passionate about history and art, this is the place you need to put on the top of your itinerary!
5. Hadrian’s Library
Built by Roman Emperor Hadrian in 132 AD, this impressive ancient structure is what remains of the old library. Hadrian's Library used to store Athen’s most important literary works and documents. It also hosted philosophical lectures and philosophical schools.
If you came to Athens to experience all the ruins, then you should add this historic site to your trip plans. You're in luck because the library is easily accessible since it's in the city center, and you can also purchase a combo ticket if you want to visit multiple sites.
Want to experience Athen's historical attractions with a guide? There are a lot of guided walking tours that you can join.
4. Lycabettus Hill
Considered the highest point in all of Athens, the Lycabettus Hill is the best spot to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city. The long walk up the circular path can be challenging for some, but it's definitely worth it! My favourite time to go is in the early evening to watch the sunset or the beginning of city lights as it gets darker.
Not only does this viewpoint offer you stunning views of the city and its famous attractions, but Lycabettus Hill also has many activities for travelers. You can also stop by the church of Agios Georgios (St. George) and visit the cafe nearby to enjoy food with the views.
If you want to overlook Athens for dinner, you're able to on top of Lycabettus Hill! There's one upscale restaurant, Orizontes, where you can make a dinner reservation and enjoy a delicious Greek meal at the top.
3. The Acropolis
A beautiful complex of temples and statues, the Acropolis is a preserved ancient structure and the most recognized attraction in all of Greece. It would be truly a shame to visit Athens without seeing the Acropolis.
Known as the symbol of ancient Greek culture, the Acropolis is one of the most important ancient monuments in the world. Alongside the Acropolis, you’ll also find the Parthenon which was believed to have been built in dedication to the goddess Athena.
Fun fact: You can see the Acropolis in almost every spot in Athens!
The Acropolis is considered the most treasured spot in all of Athens. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also home to several of the world’s famous ancient temples. Before it became a historical ruin, the Acropolis was home to kings, gods, and even functioned as a citadel.
2. Odeon of Herodes Atticus
Known by locals as “Herodeon”, this ancient theatre used to be a place for musical concerts where people gather to watch. Today, it’s fully renovated to host modern concerts from artists all over the world.
The Herodeon can be found on the southwest side of the Acropolis. You can also see the theatre if you climb on top of the Acropolis.
Don’t miss Athen’s famous archeological site, Delphi. The ancient city of Delphi was believed to have been constructed in the 7th century BC and is a historical wonder all history buffs need to see!
It's one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and contains some of the most important ancient structures such as the Stoa of the Athenians, the Temple of Apollo, the Polygonal Wall, and the Sacred Way.
Top Activities to Do in Athens, Greece
If you’re lucky enough to have a few days to stay in this magnificent city, here are things you should do to make your trip unforgettable.
Stroll Around The Streets of Old Plaka
The oldest part of Athens and the most important district during the days of the Ottoman are the streets of Old Plaka. Here you’ll find gorgeous cobbled streets, Islamic structures, and beautiful pastel-colored houses.
Try Local Greek Food
Athens is a great city for foodies! Here you’ll find amazing traditional Greek delicacies served in various restaurants in the area.
Greek food changes with the season but if you want to know what to expect, it’s mostly: fresh vegetables, fish, and seafood. If you’re craving some street food, we highly recommend trying the souvlaki!
One of the best ways to taste all of the variety of Greek food is to partake in a walking food tour hosted by a local guide. Feeling even more adventurous? I would highly recommend trying out a cooking class where you can learn how to make a staple Greek dish and even visit a local market!
Visit the Beaches
Athens is not just a place full of crowded touristy sites, there are also spots to relax and enjoy a peaceful beach vacation.
If you like your solitude, visit the easily accessible beach towns of Vari, Glyfada, and Voula. They are located at the Athenian Riviera with lovely views over the Saronic Gulf.
Sign Up for Private Tours
Venture into the beautiful city of Athens with a guide in their highly recommended private tours. There are so many different types of tours offered, so no matter what your interests are, you'll likely find a tour that's perfect for you!
For instance, on some tours you'll focus on learning the history, politics, philosophy of ancient Athens. Other tours will take you to the colorful flea markets, rich in vintage clothing stores, street art, and local boutiques in the area.
There are also tours by boat to visit islands, pub crawls, and as mentioned above cooking classes taught by locals. Whatever activity you decide to do, I'm sure it'll make your trip to Athens memorable.
Travel to Athens With Pilot!
Whether you’re traveling with your bestie, boyfriend, or your family—every great trip should start with a good plan!